Christmases growing up were nice. On Christmas Eve we would celebrate our friend's Birthday at her house (they were basically family) and exchange our gifts. Each year there were tons of GOOD home-cooked food and laughter and my sister, our friends, and I would watch the Home Alone movies in their basement. I miss it every year.
The last Christmas I celebrated at home in 2006.
On Christmas Day, though the family dynamic had shifted with my Mom out of the picture at times, we were always surrounded by family (a big family at that, my Dad is one of fourteen kids). My sister and I would wake up in the morning, run out to the living room to see the presents under the tree and start with our stockings. They usually included movie tickets, socks, and scratch-off lottery tickets and though they were expected, it always brought a smile to my face. Every year at my Grandma's house (on my Dad's side) we would have the entire family over for what was always an enjoyable day. There were plenty of gifts to exchange, food to eat, and conversations to have.
When I moved in with my ex-boyfriend, traditions began to change. I would still go to my friend's house on Christmas Eve while he visited his Dad's side of the family (his family was split up too). Then on Christmas Day we would visit his Mom's side in the early afternoon and end the day with my own. During those years, my Dad was in jail so it was always a little weird with that as the elephant in the room.
Since moving out to California those traditions have ceased to exist. I haven't really spent Christmas with my family or friends in five years. Only one year did I see my Mom for it (the first Christmas I celebrated in California) and that ended very badly as I was kicked out of where I was living at the time — it's a complicated and long story. Suffice to say, though I always enjoy the Holiday season, Christmases haven't been as nice lately.
Christmas 2007. I'm surprised I haven't burned these photos.
Adam does a wonderful job making them as special as he can for me, knowing how I feel, and we've done our best to surround ourselves with good company AKA some of our best friends here, but I always end up in tears at some point.
For now, I have no new traditions to share. I hope that in the coming years new ones can be made. My sister and I have talked about a cabin in North Carolina so we can have a place to celebrate together every year with whomever decides to show up. Until then, we can only do our best to enjoy the Holidays despite our complicated family situations. And between mine and my sister's, her husband's, and Adam's… there is a lot of complications and stress.